Quality Standards of the International Ski Instructor Association (ISIA) in the applicable version in accordance with the decision of the virtual Assembly of Delegates on October 6th, 2020.

ISIA quality standard for the ISIA stamp and ISIA card

Table of contents

  1. Preamble
  2. ISIA stamp
    2.1.      Technique
    2.2.      Safety on and off-piste
    2.3.      Methodology/didactics
    2.4.      First aid
    2.5.      Tourism, marketing, communication, basic rights
    2.6.      Languages
    2.7.      Environment and nature
    2.8.      History and culture
  3. ISIA card
    3.1.      ISIA technique test
    3.2.      ISIA test safety
  4. Duration of training
  5. Further training
  6. Control
  7. Legitimation
  8. Basic principles
  9. Legal validity

Appendix I:

  1. ISIA performance levels

Appendix II:

  1. ISIA technique test

1. Preamble

  • These regulations, together with the ISIA quality standard, define the requirements for allocation of the ISIA stamp and/or ISIA card.
  • The ISIA intends to support the training of snow sports instructors and promote quality and safety worldwide by means of the ISIA quality  standard.
  • The ISIA quality standard is aimed at the objectives of the Copenhagen Process (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training [ECVET], appendix I) and specifically at ISIA performance levels 1-3.
  • The ISIA quality standard does not automatically give the right to mutual recognition of a country’s national professional training by state authorities.
  • Candidates who have completed the national training as snow sports instructors in their country and meet the relevant quality standards, and who are also entitled to work in their home country as professional snow sports instructors with commercial interests are entitled to the ISIA stamp and/or ISIA card. Only candidates with the highest national snow sports instructor qualification have the right to purchase the ISIA card.
  • These prerequisites will be checked by the ISIA.

2. Quality standard ISIA stamp

2.1.    Technique

The candidate must be able to instruct all guest categories (children to seniors) in group and private lessons. S/he will be competent in the technical forms to the level of “expert” and able to demonstrate and explain them on difficult terrain. S/he will be able to instruct in several disciplines.

ISIA performance level 2

2.2.    Safety on and off-piste

The candidate must be able to assess winter and mountain hazards (weather, avalanches and terrain) correctly, respond and behave appropriately, and be able to take immediate action in the event of an accident. The candidate will be familiar with and able to implement FIS rules.

ISIA performance level 2

2.3.    Methodology/didactics

The candidate will understand the teaching and relevant factors for instructtion and training, and be able to apply and implement them in theory and practice.

ISIA performance level 3

2.4.    First aid

The candidate will know the principles of first aid in the event of a snow sports accident, be able to apply them and know the immediate procedures with regard to safety and alerting.

ISIA performance level 2

2.5.    Tourism, marketing, communication, basic rights

The candidate will understand the importance of quality in tourism. S/he will understand the most important marketing principles and be able to adapt his/her communication as appropriate to the situation.

S/he will know the basic rights and duties of a commercial guide, and be  able to derive and apply further rights and duties from the legal requirements.

ISIA performance level 2

2.6.    Languages

The candidate will be able to instruct in at least one other language.

ISIA performance level 2

2.7.    Environment and nature

The candidate will know the rules with regard to nature and the environment and deal sensitively with both.

ISIA performance level 2

2.8.    History and culture

The candidate will know the national history of snow sports, plus the national and international snow sports instructor organisations and their tasks.

ISIA performance level 2

3. ISIA card

The ISIA card is the highest snow sports instructor’s award issued by the ISIA. In order to receive it, further in-depth training is required in the quality standard targets in chapter 2 (ISIA stamp), and the ISIA technique test and ISIA test safety must have been successfully passed.

3.1.    ISIA technique test

The candidate will have had technical, methodological and multi-sports training. S/he will be able to teach the technical forms to the highest level (expert) with competence. S/he will also have passed the racing test to standardised measurable parameters in the main discipline.

ISIA performance level 3

3.2.    ISIA test safety

The candidate will be able to plan and undertake off-piste runs with guests (not glacier or rock runs) independently. S/he will be familiar with the necessary equipment (compass, altimeters, geographic maps, avalanche transceivers, probe poles etc.) and methods for analysing the avalanche situation, and will be able to draw the necessary conclusions. S/he will be able to read, understand and interpret avalanche bulletins and weather forecasts. In the event of an accident, s/he will be able to respond immediately, co-ordinate the rescue and provide first aid.

ISIA performance level 3

4. Duration of training

Anyone planning to undergo training must already have a high level of technical ability in the various snow sports disciplines. Candidates starting with a high entry standard must expect minimum 320 hours’ training for the ISIA stamp and minimum 450 hours for the ISIA card.

Two-thirds of the time will be spent on snow, one-third in the classroom.

Ten percent of the training time may be spent on a vocational training course.

5. Further training

In order to maintain the achieved status, snow sports instructors must attend and pass the further training courses offered by their national organisation. The instructor’s national association is to enter and register his/her attendance at a further training course in his/her identification pass.

Anyone who fails their further training will become inactive as a snow sports instructor, and will not be entitled to the ISIA stamp or ISIA card. Repeating  a further training course will restore the instructor to his/her active status.

This further training lasts one day a year, or two days every two years, or three days ebery three years.

6. Control

The ISIA reserves the right to visit and control the initial and further training courses offered by the member associations, and to check whether the standards are met.

Any tests (ISIA technique test) standardised by the ISIA must be communicated openly and be accessible to anyone who is entitled to them.

With new applications for membership, the ISIA must be given the opportunity to visit the training course for at least three years before the application will be processed. During this time, the applicants will be given the status of observer in the ISIA.

The ISIA office is to be provided with information on issued ISIA stamps at any time.

The ISIA office runs a central register of holders of the ISIA card. ISIA membership associations can obtain information here on the lawful possession of an ISIA card. The usual data protection laws apply.

There is a charge for the issue of the ISIA stamp and ISIA card.

7. Legitimation

Snow sports instructors who have successfully passed their country’s national training and exams that meet the ISIA quality standard for the ISIA stamp or ISIA card will receive the ISIA stamp or ISIA card and the ISIA badge from the respective membership association. Only candidates with the highest national snow sports instructor qualification have the right to purchase the ISIA card.

8. Basic Principles

  • ISIA by-laws
  • Copenhagen Process ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational and Education Training)
  • Rules for issuing ISIA stamps and cards
  • ISIA performance levels 1-3

9. Legal validity

This ISIA quality standard for the ISIA stamp and ISIA card becomes valid with the approval by the delegates’ meeting of 22 May 2008 in Jesolo/Italy.

Adjustments to the ISIA quality standard will become valid by the Delegates’ Assembly on 19 June 2018.

Appendix 1

10. ISIA performance levels for ISIA stamp and ISIA card

Copenhagen Process

The ISIA quality standard is based on the objectives of the Copenhagen Process, the aim of which is a European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET).

This credit system should help to make mutual grading of professional qualifications easier in future. This will be effected solely on the basis of qualifications (proof will be required) and/or competencies achieved, and not based on the duration of training. The formulation of the training aims will be based on three performance levels.

ECVET is not yet in use, which is why the ISIA performance levels 1-3 listed below apply for the weighting of competencies.

ISIA performance level 1 (remember)
The candidate is able to remember things that s/he has learnt, and transmit this knowledge. S/he is able to carry out actions according to instructions.

ISIA performance level 2 (understand and apply)
The candidate is able to transmit and practically apply acquired knowledge. S/he is able to carry out actions, their consequences and action sequences.

ISIA performance level 3 (process problems comprehensively)
The candidate is able to further develop acquired knowledge, find new solutions and assess them. S/he is able to determine action sequences independently, learn and become proficient in them.

Appendix 2

11. ISIA technique test

In order to obtain the ISIA card, every snow sports instructor must pass the examination in the ISIA technique test. The test is designed to prove the candidate’s technical abilities at the highest level. The test may be repeated any number of times. The races must be carried out in accordance with FIS rules.

The test consists of a standardised racing discipline, for which the reference times are supplied by standardised reference skiers.

The tests are carried out in different places (nations), and must be comparable.

The ISIA issues the licences for the tests to be carried out, and is responsible (control) for ensuring that they are executed in accordance with the specified guidelines.

The results will be announced on the day of the race.

The participants can choose their equipment freely (skis, suit, etc.).

Repeating the ISIA technique test
The candidate may repeat this test as often as s/he likes.

Safety and responsibility
The organiser (licencee) is responsible for the safety of the race. The safety measures must comply with the local safety guidelines.

Registration of the results
Test results will be registered with the ISIA only for those who have secured the implementation rights from the ISIA beforehand.

Requirements for a licence

  • Application to ISIA four months in advance
  • Public announcement three months before the test with details regarding organiser, place, date, time, piste
  • Announcement of the reference time skiers, minimum 2 people and 1 reserve
  • Suggestion for the jury
  • Anticipated number of participants
  • The registration fee must not exceed 60 euros for at least two starts
  • There is no limit on the number of participants.

The technical commission may apply to the steering committee to amend the ISIA technique test and adapt it to changing requirements.

Skiing competition description

The ISIA ski technique test consists of a giant slalom run carried out in compliance with the FIS rules.If the candidate does not meet the criteria during the run, he has the option of participating in a second run on the same day.

Race course

The giant slalom should have a base time of 50 sec (+/- 10%).

Difference in altitude
The difference in altitude between the start and the finish should be between 250 and 400 meters.

Reference skiers (50 FIS points)
Reference skiers are racing skiers (male) who have achieved 50 FIS points (+/- 10%) in the current or past winter season. At least 2 reference skiers will race at the beginning and at the end of the race. If a reference skier drops out of the race, he must repeat it. The reference skiers must race in racing dress. Free choice of equipment (skis, etc.).

Calculation of the reference time
The reference time is the average of the four reference skier times (two starting times and two finishing times).

Barème (qualifying time)
To pass the test, the male candidates may not lose more than 12.5%, female candidates 17.5% off the reference time.

Sample calculation
Reference skier, start:             Skier A                        51.45
Skier B                         50.87

Reference skier, finish:           Skier A                         52.15
Skier B                         52.25

Total of all four times    206.72

Reference time:
Qualifying time           Average of 206.72/4 =           51.68

Men                            51.68 + 12.5%                         58.14
Women                       51.68 + 17.5%                         60.72

Number of participants
Maximum 80 participants per race (if there are more than 80 participants in one racing venue, additional, separate race courses must be arranged).

Rules regarding equipment, repeating tests, safety and responsibility as well as registration are found in the general terms and conditions of the ISIA technique test.

This set of rules was approved by the delegates’ meeting in Jesolo on 22 May 2008, amended at the ISIA technique test pilot course in Davos between 23-25 November 2008 and takes effect immediately.

Proposal: Snowboard competition description

The snowboard test consists of a boardercross that must be carried out in accordance with FIS standards.

The basic time of the boardercross must be 40 seconds (+/- 10%). It must contain at least the following elements: steep hill curves, rollers, jumps.

Starting procedure
The candidates will draw for their starting positions. Only single runs will be raced. The better of two times will be used.

Reference boarders
The reference boarders must have a level of approx. 100 FIS points. Reference boarders A and B will perform the boardercross at the beginning and end of the race. The reference time is calculated from the average of the best start and end times.

Time limits
A male will pass the test if he loses no more than 15% of the reference time.
A female will pass the test if she loses no more than 20% of the reference time.

Time measuring
The time will be measured by an electronic time measuring device.

FIS rules
The FIS rules, Rules for the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup, will apply for any items not listed here.

List of literature

  • FIS rules, Rules for the Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup, 2008
  • FIS rules, Rules of the FIS Points Snowboard, 2008

Proposal: Nordic competition description

Single start; 1st round classic, material change, 2nd round skating. The material change is part of the whole competition.

Total of 8 km, one round of 4 km classic technique, one round of 4 km free technique. A track will be created for the classic technique. The competition round for the free technique will be groomed.

The maximum difference in altitude between the highest and lowest points in a competition round should not exceed 65 m.
A single ascent should not cover more than 50 m difference in altitude, but it may be broken by a flat section of a maximum of 200 m, or a descent covering a difference in altitude of 10 m.
The whole difference in altitude per competition round should not be more than 90 m or less than 50 m.

Changing zone
The entrance to and exit from the changing zone is identified. Once the candidate has entered the changing zone, s/he is free to choose any technique. The changing zone contains changing areas for all candidates. These are at least 2.5 m long and 1.5 m wide. The material for the free technique must be deposited in the changing areas before the start. Skis must be changed; boots and sticks may be. The changes in materials must be effected in the changing areas with no assistance from third parties.

Starting procedure
Single start at 30-second intervals. The candidates will draw lots for their starting positions.

Reference skiers
The reference skier must ski at a level of approx. 150 FIS points. He must not have dropped below this score for longer than one year. The reference skier is male. He will ski before or after the candidates, depending on the conditions. The reference skier should, if at all possible, ski under the fastest conditions.

Time limits
The test is passed if a male loses no more than 25% on the reference skier’s time. A female will pass the test if she loses no more than 35% on the reference skier’s time.

Time measuring
The time can be stopped by hand with precision to one-tenth of a second. Electronic timing is also permitted. Time measuring commences at the start and is not stopped until the candidate has crossed the finish line after the freestyle round.

FIS rules
The FIS rules, Book II, Cross Country, is to be consulted for any items not listed here.

– FIS, Book II, Cross Country, The International Ski Competition Rules, 2004